English, Irish and Maths are compulsory, so it’s really important to research the subjects you are considering for the Leaving Certificate.
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (www.ncca.ie) is a good starting point to find the full range of subjects for Senior Cycle. In this booklet you will find a range of subjects for Senior Cycle and get an opportunity to evaluate the subjects you are considering. If a student has a particular career or college course in mind they should make sure they understand the subject requirements of that career or course now. It is too late in sixth year deciding to be a primary school teacher without having taken Higher Course Irish from fifth year, or wishing to apply to the National University of Ireland which require three languages for most courses, or wishing to go to Dundalk I.T. without passing English and Maths at least at ordinary level. Colleges and courses have various requirements and research is needed in third and transition year to make sure your desired options are available to you in sixth year.
The following websites are useful:
Why study a language www.languagesconnect.ie
UCAS U.K College Applications www.ucas.com
National Council for Curriculum and Assessment www.ncca.ie
Careers Ireland www.careersireland.net
Home Economics www.safefood.eu
Tips for choosing Leaving Certificate subjects
- Talk to students in senior cycle and listen to their experience. Maybe you have an older sister or brother who is studying the same subject.
- The most professional person to speak with is the teacher of the subject – listen to the facts, hear how they promote and show an interest in their subject. It’s really important to get a glance at the textbooks that you will be using. Choose subjects you like, not the subject that your friends would like you to do.
- Reflect on your CAT test performance as they indicated your strengths in the following areas; verbal or numerical reasoning, spatial awareness, mechanical reasoning. Strengths in these areas will point you in the direction of career areas that could compliment your ability. It is also important to look at how you did in the Interest assessments. This can be very enlightening for students. Through answering a series of preference questions interest assessments can reveal a lot about your work preferences. You can repeat the interest assessments free of charge with Careers Portal and Qualifax.
- Research college courses and colleges that you have an interest in that will lead you on your choice of career pathway and ensure that when you make your CAO application you are not caught out because you did not study a particular subject for the Leaving Certificate. Many students will study a third language which is recommended as it is a matriculation for the vast majority of courses in the National University of Ireland. Some students will decide on a science subject to keep their options open, this is important if you are considering science, pharmacy, veterinary science, nursing, human nutrition and dietetics, engineering or medicine as a possible career. It is recommended that students also consider subjects that offer coursework and projects where they can achieve a grade mark before sitting the Leaving Certificate, e.g. home economics, art, LCVP, history, geography, music.